Osteoporosis occurs when bones become less dense, lose strength, and break more easily. It can affect both men and women, however the large majority of cases are women, particularly after menopause.
Bone is living tissue that needs exercise to gain strength, similar to muscle. We reach peak bone mass by about 25-30 years of age. Our sex hormones have a crucial role in maintaining bone strength. As women go through menopause, the function of their ovaries diminishes. This means they are not producing as much oestrogen as they used to. Oestrogen is very important for bone health, and the drop in oestrogen after menopause results in accelerated bone loss. The average woman can lose up to 10% of her total body bone mass during the first five years after menopause.
Osteoporosis predisposes those affected to an increased risk of fractures, which can be very debilitating and affect your quality of life. Compression fractures in the spine can lead to loss of height, pain, and changes in posture.
How to monitor your bone health
The best way to monitor your bone density is with a DEXA scan- which stands for a dual-energy absorptiometry scan. It is a low level x-ray which measures the density of your bones, usually in the hip and lower back.
The results of your DEXA scan will give you a T score. This tells you whether you have normal bone density, osteoporosis, or osteopenia. Osteopenia is a condition where the bones are fragile and less dense, but not to the same extent as osteoporosis.
Risk factors for osteoporosis
- Insufficient dietary calcium
- Low vitamin D levels
- Alcohol intake of more than two standard drinks per day
- Caffeine intake of more than three cups of coffee or equivalent per day
- Inadequate physical activity levels
- Early menopause (before the age of 45)
- Long term use of medications such as corticosteroids
How to prevent osteoporosis
- An adequate intake of calcium is crucial in maintaining healthy bones and preserving your bone density
- Post menopausal women are recommended to have 1,300mg of calcium per day.
- Calcium supplements may be recommended if you are unable to get enough calcium from your diet alone (for example if you can’t tolerate dairy)
- Vitamin D is important for bone density as it helps your body absorb the calcium in your diet
- We obtain most of vitamin D from the sun
- Vitamin D can also be found in small quantities in foods such as salmon, eggs and margarine
- Stop smoking if you are a smoker
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption – no more than two standard drinks per day and have at least two alcohol-free days per week
- Limit caffeine intake as excessive caffeine can affect the amount of calcium that our body absorbs- drink no more than two to three cups per day of coffee, tea, or cola
- These lifestyle habits are best started younger in life to get the most benefit
- Weight bearing exercise improves bone density as well as balance which reduces the risk of falls
- Recommended exercise includes brisk walking, jogging, tennis or dance
- High impact exercise such as jumping and rope skipping should also be included if appropriate for you
- Strength training is also very important- a physiotherapist can design an exercise program that is individually tailored to your needs and abilities
- Aim for 30-40mins of exercise, 4 to 6 times a week
Addressing all these factors while you are young is extremely important. Once you are osteopenic or osteoporotic, there is no going back. This is why it is so crucial to be mindful of your bone health before it’s too late. Women nearing menopause or those who have recently gone through menopause should have a bone density scan and be aware of the lifestyle changes you may need to make to preserve your bone density.
If you have any further questions about your bone health or would like to speak to a Physiotherapist about what exercise they should be doing, give us a call on +61 02 9875 3760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Achilles tendon is one of the most commonly injured tendons in the body. It is commonly injured in running, with 6-8% of all running injuries being to the Achilles.
The Achilles tendon attaches your calf muscles to the heel bone. It is important for many activities such as walking, running, going up and down stairs, and standing on your tip toes.
Achilles tendinopathy is a condition that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness of the Achilles tendon. It is caused by repetitive stress to the tendon. There are many risk factors that can contribute to the development of pain in the Achilles. These include:
- Decreased muscle strength
- Limited ankle mobility
- Poor muscle flexibility, particularly tight calf muscles
- Foot alignment, particularly having flat feet
- Poor footwear
- Previous injury
- Increased age
People can develop Achilles tendinopathy after changes in loading. For example, if you are returning to running after a long break. It is important to gradually ease back into your training load to allow for your body to adjust. Training error can also contribute to the development of Achilles tendinopathy. These include:
- Sudden spikes in training levels
- Changes in loading ie doing more hill running
- Increases in training intensity or speed
- Changes in training duration
- Poor running technique
Achilles tendinopathy is a condition which is quite slow to recover. The tendon has a poor blood supply which makes it slow to heal.
The main symptoms involve pain and stiffness around the Achilles tendon. It often feels the worst first thing in the morning. Pain is often worse after exercise. In runners for example, they may notice pain at the beginning of their run, which eases as they continue on, but then once they stop running the pain worsens again. There may also be swelling around the tendon after increased activity, and it is often quite tender to touch.
Treating Achilles Tendinopathy
Initially it is important to rest from your aggravating activities. You should stop any high impact activities or sports, such as running. As your pain improves you can gradually return to your exercise. Your Physiotherapist will be able to guide you as to how soon you can return and how to build back up to your pre-injury levels. They may suggest doing more low impact exercise such as cycling, swimming, or elliptical, to help maintain your fitness while reducing the load on the tendon to allow it to heal.
Taking painkillers and anti-inflammatories can help to relieve the pain. Anti-inflammatories should not be taken in the long term as you can start to develop other side effects. Chat to your GP about other medication options if you need to take something more long term.
Applying heat to the tendon helps to increase blood flow to the area which helps to speed up the healing process. Place a heat pack on the Achilles for 20 minutes.
Physiotherapy can help with Achilles tendinopathy. Hands-on manual therapy techniques can be used to relieve the pain and promote blood flow to the area. Ultrasound and TENS can also be used for pain relief. Your Physio will take a thorough history from you to help determine the cause of injury. They will be able to offer advice on how to modify your training load. They can assess your running technique and check your foot alignment. They may recommend and fit you with orthotics if deemed appropriate.
It is important to stretch and strengthen your Achilles tendon to help improve your flexibility and strength. By strengthening the tendon and surrounding muscles, the Achilles is better able to cope with the load of high impact activities such as running. Your Physiotherapist will design an exercise program tailored specifically for you to help you get back to the activities that you love doing.
If you are suffering from Achilles pain and would like some more information on physiotherapy treatment, we would be more than happy to help. Give us a call on 9875 3760 or email email@example.com.
Tennis is a great sport that requires speed, power, endurance, balance, and coordination. However it can cause injury to many parts of the body due to the high speed of racquet impact, as well as repetition and use of your dominant arm. The frequent stopping, pivoting and jarring can also contribute to lower limb injuries in your knees, ankles or hips. Back injuries can also occur due to the frequent rotation required during groundstrokes. In this blog we will talk about some of the most common tennis injuries.
Types of Tennis Injuries
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the outside of the elbow. It is often caused by overuse of the muscles, which become inflamed and in some cases you can get microtears. This condition is quite slow to heal as the tendon has a poor blood supply. Symptoms develop gradually, and can worsen over weeks and months.
Physiotherapy treatment can help by promoting blood flow to the area with soft tissue massage to the muscles and tendon. Ultrasound, hot or cold packs, and TENS can also be used for pain relief. They will give you an exercise program to help strengthen your forearm muscles so that they can better cope with the demands of tennis. You should also have your coach analyse your swing technique to ensure your wrist is stable and that you have minimal pressure on the extensor tendons. If appropriate, you may be advised to wear an elbow guard in the short term to help take the pressure off the affected area. Your physio can fit you with the brace and advise you on when you should be wearing it.
Shoulder injuries are common in tennis, often due to the forceful motion of serves or smashes. Performing a tennis serve can overload various structures around the shoulder, particularly if there is tightness or weakness causing muscle imbalances. This can occur with a muscle strain, or during growth spurts in children when the muscles become tight as the bones are lengthening. Frequent overuse of the rotator cuff muscles in the shoulder can also cause impingement of the bursa which can lead to inflammation and pain.
To reduce the risk of injury, a thorough assessment should be performed to identify any muscle imbalances or weaknesses. A physiotherapist can then prescribe you with an individually tailored exercise program to target your strength deficits as well as work on flexibility, stability, and endurance. They can also provide advice on training your training load. Any increases in the amount of training or competition must be gradual to avoid overloading the shoulder. Physiotherapy can also help to reduce pain and swelling with gentle massage and joint mobilisations, ultrasound, heat and TENS. The shoulder can also be taped if deemed appropriate.
Tennis players can be affected by patella tendonitis, also known as jumper’s knee. Knee pain in tennis players most commonly occurs at the front of the knee, due to inflammation of the patellar tendon with repetitive jumping and stop/start motions. Landing on hard surfaces can also contribute to this injury.
Treatment should follow RICE principles (rest, ice, compression and elevation), as well as target strengthening to your quadriceps. Your physiotherapist can help devise an exercise program to suit your needs and target your weaknesses. Regular lower limb stretching is also important and can help prevent injury to your calf, Achilles, and hamstrings.
Lower back injuries
The motion of serving involves hyperextending the lower back with an added rotation and side bend. This places stress on the joints and soft tissues of the lower back. With too much repetition, this may result in a slipping forward of the vertebra (spondylolisthesis). Some cases can develop into a spondylolysis, which is a stress fracture in the pars interarticularis.
Treatment firstly involves a period of rest to allow for healing to occur. Your physiotherapist will then guide your lower back rehabilitation to help build up the strength, stability and flexibility in your muscles. This will mean your back is better supported and better able to cope with the demands of the sport. Your physio will incorporate sports specific exercises and will advise you on when you can return to training and competition.
Tips to prevent tennis injuries
- Always remember to warm up, stretch, and cool down
- Maintain adequate fitness
- Ensure you have good technique. You should seek advice from a qualified coach to help develop or correct your skills
- Avoid over-repetition of the same type of shot. You should be practising a range of strokes including groundstrokes, smashes, volleys and serves.
- Wear appropriate footwear which have adequate foot support
- Check that your racquet is suitable for your style of play, experience and size
- Update your tennis balls regularly. Old or damp balls load the arm with unnecessary force
Do you get bad headaches that just won’t go away? Do they prevent you from work, study, or a good night’s sleep? Did you know that headaches can be caused by stiffness in your neck joints? Physiotherapy may be the solution to getting rid of your headaches!
How do I know if my headache is related to my neck?
There are some common findings which often help to establish the neck as the cause of the headaches
- You have neck and shoulder pain at the same time as the headache
- Certain postures trigger your headache such as sitting, driving, looking down at your phone for too long, sleeping position. Sometimes the headache occurs well after being in that particular posture eg 1-2 days after.
- The pain gets worse with fatigue such as towards the end of the day or the end of the week
- Waking up with a headache after a bad night’s sleep, or sleeping on a different pillow or mattress
- You had an injury to your neck such as a whiplash injury, around the time the headaches started
What are the most common types of headaches?
Cervicogenic headaches involve the three top vertebrae of the neck. When these vertebrae are stiff, they send pain signals which refer up into the head, causing headaches. The headache is often just on one side of your head, and can be triggered by neck movements.
A migraine often involves a severe headache, along with other symptoms. These include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to light or smell
- An “aura” – disturbances to vision that can include difficulty focussing, flashing lines, flickering spots
A migraine usually occurs on one side, but it is common for it to change sides. The pain is often described as throbbing or pulsating. Migraines can be triggered by certain foods, hormonal changes, stress or exercise.
Tension headaches are caused by repetitive motions or poor neck/head postures that place the neck muscles under constant strain, sending pain messages into the head. Tension headaches affect both sides of the head, and often feel like a tight band across your forehead.
How can Physiotherapy help with headaches?
Physiotherapy treatmeant for headaches firstly involves an assessment to determine what the likely cause of your headaches is. Manual therapy techniques will be used to release the stiffness in your upper cervical joints, and soft tissue massage will be used to help release the tension in any tight muscles that you may have. Ultrasound, heat packs and TENS can be used for pain relief. Your physiotherapist will give you some stretches and exercises to help relieve the pain and prevent the headaches from recurring. The exercises will address any muscle imbalances or weaknesses that may be contributing to your headaches. Your physiotherapist will also talk to you about your work station set-up, your sleeping habits, and any other aggravating activities. They will then be able to offer you advice on what you may need to change or modify to help manage and prevent your headaches.
If you are experiencing headaches and have any further questions or would like to book an appointment, feel free to contact us! Give us a call on 9875 3760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be more than happy to help.
The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, and we rely on it to be able to do a number of activities such as reaching, lifting, gardening, or playing sports. Given that the shoulder is a very mobile joint, it can be easily injured.
If you suffer from a shoulder injury, you may have pain at night and find it difficult to lie on that side to sleep. The shoulder may feel really stiff, or it may feel unstable as if it’s about to pop out of the socket. You may feel weak in the shoulder muscles, making it hard to perform everyday activities, particularly reaching behind your back or overhead activities.
Common Causes of Shoulder Pain
- Lifting something too heavy at an awkward angle
- Lifting a heavy object away from the body or above shoulder height
- Repetitive movements that place stress on the shoulder
- Reaching behind the backseat of the car to lift or place heavy items
1. Rotator Cuff Injuries
The rotator cuff is a group of muscles surrounding the shoulder that work to lift and rotate the arm, as well as support and stabilise the joint.
Injury to the rotator cuff can be acute such as falling onto an outstretched arm, lifting something too heavy, catching a falling object, or repetitive overhead work.
The rotator cuff can also be injured due to degenerative wear and tear. As we get older and are less active, tendons under degeneration and start to lose strength. This means they can be torn more easily. Repetitive stress on the shoulder can increase the risk of developing a tear.
Physiotherapy can help with rotator cuff injuries. Your Physiotherapist will use manual therapy techniques to help improve your range of motion and relax the muscles. You will be prescribed with a comprehensive exercise program consisting of stretches and strength work. The stretches will help to improve your flexibility and range of motion, and the strength work will help to restore function and prevent further injury. Your physiotherapist will give you advice on posture, desk setup, sleeping positions, and modifying your daily activities to minimise the stresses placed on the shoulder.
2. Shoulder Instability or Dislocations
Shoulder instability is common in young people and athletes. When the muscles and ligaments that hold the shoulder together are stretched beyond their normal limits, the shoulder can become unstable. Certain motions used in tackling, throwing, pitching or bowling can place large forces on the shoulder that can overstretch the ligaments. People describe the feeling that the shoulder is loose or feels weak. When the ligaments become too loose or completely tear, a shoulder subluxation or dislocation can occur. This is commonly caused by falling onto an outstretched hand, a violent twisting motion, or contact with arms overhead.
Physiotherapy for shoulder instability will focus heavily on restoring strength and control back into the muscles so that the shoulder is better supported. Your physiotherapist will assess your strength and biomechanics in order to design an exercise program individually tailored to your needs. The program will involve strengthening, stability, and endurance work.
3. Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder can be triggered by trauma, previous shoulder injury, post-operatively, or it can arise without warming. The joint capsule tightens and becomes inflamed, forming scar tissue and adhesions which result in a very stiff and painful shoulder. It also results in very limited range of motion.
Physiotherapy treatment aims to speed up recovery with soft tissue massage to loosen up the muscles, mobilisation of the joint itself, and exercise to help with strength and flexibility. Your physiotherapist will give you stretches to help improve your range of motion and relieve the stiffness. As your pain subsides you will then begin strengthening and endurance work.
4. Sports Injuries
Shoulder injuries can occur with many different sports, including tennis, cricket and swimming. If the muscles, ligaments or tendons are not working well together or coordinating properly, pain and inflammation can arise.
Physiotherapy is beneficial in treating sports related shoulder injuries, as well as helping to prevent them from occurring. Your physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment to identify any muscle imbalances or weaknesses. They can then prescribe you with an individually tailored exercise program to target your strength deficits as well as work on flexibility, stability, and endurance. Your physiotherapist will also give you advice on your training load, as any increases must be gradual to avoid overloading the shoulder. They will also be able to analyse your technique, liaise with your coach, and offer advice on what you can change to avoid placing too much stress on the shoulder.
If you are suffering from a shoulder injury and would like some help, feel free to contact us! Give us a call on 9875 3760 or email email@example.com
Stress can manifest itself in many ways, including tight muscles or headaches. When we experience long term stress, our bodies can hold tension in our neck and shoulder muscles, which can lead to pain. Neck pain is a common symptom caused by persistent stress. The more stressed we are, the more tense our muscles become, causing more pain and discomfort. You may also develop tension headaches. So what can you do to help settle down the pain? Keep reading for our top tips on how to relieve neck pain from stress.
How to manage neck pain from stress:
1. Physiotherapy and Massage therapy
Soft tissue massage can help to release tight and overworked muscles, reduce spasms and assist in tissue regeneration. Physiotherapy or remedial massage has a great effect on stress reduction. It can promote a decrease in cortisol, which is the hormone produced when we are stressed and in pain. Massage also promotes increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, to improve your mood, encourage relaxation and relieve your pain.
Heat works to increase blood flow and relax muscles, to help reduce the tension. If you have a hot pack at home, apply it to your neck and shoulders for approximately 20 minutes before you go to bed. A hot bath or shower also works well and is soothing for tense neck muscles.
Gentle neck stretches can help improve your flexibility and range of motion. They also help to loosen up the tightness in your neck muscles. When we are stressed we tend to hunch our shoulders and carry extra tension in the muscles. Doing regular stretches can help prevent the muscles from tightening to the point where they cause pain.
4. Strengthening exercises
Strengthening your upper body muscles is essential in preventing neck pain. When we are weak between the shoulder blades, the muscles at the top of your shoulders (trapezius) and in your neck become overactive. This means they overcompensate and become very tight and sore. By strengthening your upper back muscles, your neck will be better supported. The overactive muscles will learn to switch off and not carry as much of the load. If you go to the gym, doing exercises such as rows or lat pull downs work really well. Otherwise, there are exercises at home you can do using small hand weights or theraband. Speak to a physio about what exercises would be best for you.
5. Go for a walk
Sometimes we just need some time out. Step away from your desk and go for a walk to clear your head and have a break from all the stresses in your life. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the hormones that make us feel good. Make time to go for a walk every day. You might also like to listen to music or podcasts while you walk to shift your focus to something different.
Our body repairs itself while we sleep. Some of the questions you should be asking yourself:
- Do you have good sleeping habits?
- Are you getting enough sleep each night?
- Are you spending too long looking at your phone or computer before going to bed?
- Are you having caffeinated drinks in the evening?
If you suffer from poor sleep, perhaps consider what other lifestyle aspects may be contributing. You may also want to think about whether you have a good pillow that supports your neck properly. Your physiotherapist can help advise you on the best pillow to support your neck and best mattress for your spine.
7. See a Physiotherapist
Physiotherapy treatment is really effective in relieving neck pain. Your physiotherapist will use hands on manual therapy techniques to relieve muscle tightness and joint stiffness. They can also use ultrasound, heat packs and TENS for pain relief. They will prescribe you with an exercise program including stretches and strength work which will be specifically tailored to your condition to help speed up your recovery. They can also give you advice on how to set up your workstation and improve your posture, as well as give you tips on how to manage the pain.
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer both Physiotherapy and remedial massage services. Give us a call on 9875 3760 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The winter sporting season is typically our busiest time of year, with netball and soccer being the main culprits of injury. For many players, injury occurs towards the beginning of the season due to inadequate preseason training and preparation. This often means they miss out on playing a large part of the season. For others, injury occurs towards the end of the season as they start to get tired and fatigued, and they can miss out on playing the important final games.
So what can you do to get through the season without injuring yourself?
First let’s talk about the common causes of sporting injuries
- Differences in strength and flexibility on one side of your body, causing muscle imbalances and asymmetries
- Sudden spikes in training- including duration, frequency, and intensity
- Inadequate aerobic fitness
- Sports specific injury risks eg contact vs no contact sports
- Gender based risks
- Poor techniques and biomechanics
Tips for avoiding injury
With last year’s sport all over the place, we understand that everyone just wants to get out and play. Although you may want to jump straight in and go as hard as you can each training session and game, this is not ideal for your body! If you overload your muscles without adequate recovery, they can’t cope with the demands that your body is placing on them, resulting in injury. Pacing your activity is therefore very important with a gradual increase in training intensity and frequency.
Your body needs time to recover after training and competition. Recovery is often as important as the workout itself. You should be including a cool down after training to allow for gradual recovery of your pre-exercise heart rate and blood pressure. You should also stretch all the major muscle groups that you used to prevent you from developing tightness which can predispose you to injury.
Stretching is important to allow your joints to move through their full range of motion, and keep the muscles flexible and adequate length. Performing dynamic stretches prior to exercise has been shown to prepare your muscles for activity, and may also help to improve your performance. Static stretching works well after sport as part of your cool down.
Strength training is important to build muscle strength to ensure your muscles are strong enough to cope with the loads placed on them, and can help improve your performance. It also is important in addressing any muscle imbalances or biomechanics that need correcting. You should be targeting the main muscle groups that are required for your sport.
5. Cardiovascular fitness and endurance
Improving your fitness in essential in sports that require lots of running such as soccer or rugby. Cardiovascular training involves exercises that get your heart pumping and increase your breathing rate such as running, cycling, swimming or stair climbing. Endurance training can protect athletes from injury as your muscles will be trained to work at the required intensity for longer. This means they are less likely to fatigue and cause injury.
6. Sport specific training drills
Training is very specific and there is not much crossover between activities. You need to ensure that what you train aligns with the requirements of your sport. For example if you need to perform quick changes of direction you will need to do speed and agility drills. Whereas if your position involves more running, you need to focus on increasing your fitness and endurance. The type of running also is important ie sprinting vs long distance. It is important to train the type of running required in your sport.
How can physiotherapy help you avoid injury?
If you had a niggling injury that was bothering you last season and is still troubling you, it is time to seek professional advice as soon as possible. Ignoring your pain and trying to push through it can result in further injury that will take longer to recover.
Physiotherapists are highly trained in assessing your muscle function, strength, flexibility, range of motion, stability and biomechanics. By assessing how you move, we can address any deficits such as muscle imbalances, weakness or poor motor control. An exercise program can then be developed specifically for your needs and help you become fitter, stronger and well equipped to tackle all the demands of your sport. We can also give you injury prevention advice and help adjust your training load if you are easing back into sport after an injury.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Give us a call on 9875 3760 or email email@example.com. We would be more than happy to help!
We’re all aware of how important a good desk set-up is. Your workstation needs to be set up to encourage a well-aligned posture. Now with a lot of us continuing to be working from home more long term, your home set-up is just as important. We commonly see people straining their neck to look at a computer monitor that is too far away, too low or too high. Sitting for prolonged periods of time increases your risk of developing lower back or neck pain.
In this blog we will summarise what your workstation should look like, what chair you should be sitting on, and what healthy working habits you should adopt as part of your working day.
What sort of chair should I be sitting on?
- No arm rests. This allows you to sit further under the table and stops you from propping your arms on the arm rests which can cause slouching
- Good lumbar support which is adjustable so its sits in just the right spot for your lower back
- Back support for your upper back so that you can lean back into it to rest your back muscles
- Adjustable seat which can be tilted slightly, so that your hips are slightly higher than your knees
- Adjustable height of the chair so that you can make sure your feet are comfortably flat on the floor. You may need a foot stool if your desk or table is too high.
Sitting desk set-up
- Top of the monitor should be at eye level
- Feet flat on the floor
- Thighs parallel to the floor with knee and hip bend between 90-120 degrees
- Relaxed shoulders with elbows bent at 90 degrees and then forearms down at a 30 degree angle. Wrists in a neutral position
How about standing desks?
Standing desks are a great way to ensure you don’t spend the whole day sitting down. However, what people don’t realise is that standing for long periods of time is also not beneficial. When standing, your heart has to work harder to pump the blood around the body, as the muscle pumps of the calf muscles are not activated when standing still. When we begin to fatigue with standing, we tend to lean to one side which can affect your hips or knees. Therefore, we want a good balance of both sitting and standing. We recommend sitting for 40 minutes, then standing for 20 minutes. Alternate in this pattern every hour.
Standing desk set-up
- Top of the monitor should be at eye level
- Elbows bent at 90 degrees and then down at a 30 degree angle
- Head, neck and torso are in line
- Stand with your legs shoulder width apart
- Weight should be distributed evenly across both legs
Healthy Working Habits!
While it’s important to have your desk set-up correct, it’s just as important to have healthy working habits. Sitting or standing in front of a screen non-stop all day is not good for you. Here are some health working habits for you:
- Get up every hour. Either go for a short walk down the hallway or stand up for a minute before sitting back down.
- Regular stretching of your neck, back, shoulders and wrists
- Ensure your room has adequate lighting to avoid straining your eyes
- Look away from the computer every 30mins. Look out the window for 20-30 seconds to give your eyes a rest from staring at a screen all day
- Maintain regular physical activity. You should be aiming for at least 30 mins of exercise per day.
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep each night. Aim for 8 hours.
If you have any other questions about how to best optimise your work station, let us know. If you are suffering from neck or lower back pain from a poor desk setup or too much sitting, give us a call to make an appointment. In addition to physiotherapy, we also offer remedial massage to help relieve your muscle tension and help with your pain. Our number is 9875 3760 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you spend most of the day sitting down at your desk in front of the computer? Do you find yourself really tired by the end of the day? You may be wondering why you are so tired just from sitting.
Sitting pushes the ribcage into the abdomen/stomach. This limits expansion of diaphragm which sits at the base of the rib cage. Over time the lack of diaphragm movement stiffens the rib cage and we end up breathing only in the upper lungs. This is called shallow breathing. Shallow breathing leads to less oxygen around the body and fatigue over the course of the day.
The way you breathe can impact your whole body. The normal breathing rate for the average adult is 12-16 breaths per minute. For many of us who have busy schedules and spend most of the working day sitting at a desk, our breathing pattern becomes shallow. Over time, this weakens the strength of our respiratory muscles, including the diaphragm. Shallow breathing relies on your upper body muscles to do most of the work to allow you to breathe. This creates tension and tightness at the top of your shoulders, between your shoulder blades, and at the front of your chest. This can affect our posture throughout the day.
What causes shallow breathing?
Several factors can cause us to become shallow breathers. Chronic pain or stress can impair your breathing rate. Poor posture can impair our breathing pattern. Rounded shoulders and a forward head posture causes the muscles around the chest to tighten. This limits the ability of the ribcage to expand, causing you to take more rapid and shallow breaths. This shallow breathing pattern in combination with poor posture can affect the function of your upper body muscles. The tightness of the muscles in the front of the chest and top of the shoulders causes them to become overactive. This then inhibits and weakens the muscles in your back between your shoulder blades which help maintain an upright posture.
Practicing deep breathing can help reinforce proper body mechanics to help reduce muscle tension. It also has multiple other health benefits such as reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. Deep breathing involves inhaling slowly and deeply through the nose, to allow your lungs to fill with air. You should feel your abdomen expand as you breathe in. The diaphragm is the primary muscle that allows you to inhale. It is located inside the lower ribs at the base of your chest. As you breathe in, the diaphragm contracts to create space for your lungs to expand in the chest cavity. We also have muscle between each of our ribs, called the intercostals, which assists the diaphragm by elevating the rib cage to allow more air into the lungs.
A steady breathing pattern enhances core stability and improves tolerance to high-intensity exercise.
How to practice deep breathing:
- Take a deep breath in, count to four, then release a deep breath out to the same count
- Place your palm against your stomach. You should feel your stomach expand outwards against your hand as you breathe in
- Avoid elevating your shoulders as you breathe as this promotes a shallow breathing pattern
Tips for reducing fatigue at the end of the day
- Get up every hour and move around. You can either go for a short walk up and down the office or hallway, or even just stand for a minute or so. As long as you are breaking up the long periods of sitting!
- Set time through the day to practice deep breathing. Perhaps every time you get up from sitting, do 3 deep breaths.
- Stretch your hands above your head. This helps to stretch the rib cage.
- Stomp your feet. This helps stimulate lymphatic movement and increases circulation around the body
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us. Give us a call on 9875 3760 or email email@example.com
What is Lymphatic Massage and How Can It Help Me?
Have you heard the term lymphatic massage but aren’t exactly sure of what it is? We are often familiar with our body systems such as the circulatory system and respiratory system, however the lymphatic system is one that not many people know much about.
So what is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is responsible for the removal of toxins and cellular waste. It plays a role in how fast we recover and heal.
Unlike our circulatory system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have its own series of muscles like the heart to pump it around. It requires physical movement via external methods.
The lymph is a fluid that moves through its own series of vessels towards the neck and then the heart, in a one way action. The lymph collects and transports foreign material, protecting us against disease, bacteria, viruses and fungus. It transports fatty acids and fat soluble nutrients from the digestive system for absorption into the blood vessels. Hormones and proteins that cannot make it automatically into the blood must travel via the lymphatic system before they can be utilised. The lymph also assists our metabolism.
The primary drivers of lymphatic movement are activity and breathing. Even a 15min jog while focusing on deep breaths helps your body shift the fluid around and get rid of metabolic waste. Swimming also benefits lymphatic movement. The water pressure provides a built in compression which further helps lymphatic circulation.
What can go wrong with the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system can stop working properly if it becomes blocked, inflamed or cancerous. Underlying lymphatic problems and blockages are commonly undiagnosed, contributing to many inflammatory disorders and health complaints. Addressing the lymphatic system is beneficial for overall health and immunity. It has shown promising results in helping with inflammation, pain, stress, blockages, weight problems, skin issues, and gut health.
Symptoms of lymphatic problems may include
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches and pains
- Swelling of lymph nodes in the throat, armpits or groin
- Breast swelling
- Hormonal problems
- Weight gain
- Chronic fatigue
- Sore throats and being sick often
What is lymphedema?
Lymphedema occurs when the lymphatic system fails to drain the lymph fluid. This fluid can then accumulate, cause swelling and potentially increase the risk of infection. Lymphedema may arise because the lymphatic vessels or nodes have been damaged or were not formed correctly.
Secondary lymphedema is the most common type that develops following damage to the lymphatic system. This can occur with:
- Cancer treatments which may involve the removal of lymph nodes or radiotherapy to lymph node groups
- Progression of malignant disease
- Trauma and tissue damage
- Venous disease
What is lymphatic massage?
Lymphatic massage, or lymphatic drainage, is a gentle massage treatment to stimulate the circulation of lymph fluid around the body. This helps to speed up the removal of wastes and toxins. Lymphatic drainage can also be used to help people who have had damage to their lymphatic system following surgery, trauma or due to developmental disorders.
Lymphatic massage has very light pressure because the lymphatic system is close to the surface of the skin. It is not like a regular massage that has deeper pressure to massage the muscles. It also has a specific sequence to ensure the blocked lymph areas are cleared and the lymph is being moved in the right direction.
What conditions benefit from lymphatic massage?
- Chronic fluid retention in legs or arms
- Post-mastectomy or breast cancer treatment
- Swelling of a limb, pre or post surgery
- Chronic fatigue
- Hormonal and emotional imbalances
- Recurrent infections eg colds, tonsillitis, sinus infections
We offer lymphatic massage treatment here at WPH Physio. Contact us if you have any further questions or would like to book in for a lymphatic massage treatment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9875 3760.More posts